Leach in contention for debut as England drop Moeen and Woakes

Off-spinner Jack Leach is in contention to make his England debut after being named in a 12-man squad for the second Test with New Zealand.

Jack Leach (L) and Moeen Ali (R)   -  Getty Images

England have dropped Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes for the second Test against New Zealand in Christchurch, where Jack Leach could make his debut.

The tourists suffered a nightmare start to the two-match series, as they were bowled out for just 58 in the first innings in Auckland, going on to lose by an innings and 49 runs.

After also struggling during the 4-0 Ashes defeat to Australia, Moeen made a duck and then 28 in England's second knock at Eden Park, while failing to take a wicket as the Black Caps posted a match-winning 427-8 declared in their single innings.

And the spinning all-rounder, along with paceman Woakes, has paid the price for his poor form, the selectors turning instead to Somerset spinner Leach, who could get his first taste of international cricket, unless England opt for an all-pace attack.

The 26-year-old off-spinner has taken 185 wickets in 54 first-class matches at an average of 25.95.

"There's obviously a couple of choices to make, but that's exciting that we have players pushing strong cases for themselves," captain Joe Root said.

"It gives the guys in possession the nudge to know they need to keep improving, keep learning and they've got to do it quickly.

"You can see the focus around the group. Hopefully we can be absolutely ready for what's going to be a big five days.

"I'm very frustrated in terms of how the results have gone this winter. We've not done ourselves justice, we're probably a better side than we've shown throughout both tours."

Batsman James Vince and bowler Mark Wood have also been included in the England squad.


England: Joe Root (c), James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Alastair Cook, Jack Leach, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ben Stokes, Mark Stoneman, James Vince, Mark Wood.

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